Multi Sport Games

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Facing Too Many Obstacles, U.S./Canada Olympics Bid Falls Apart

18 May, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Well, it was good while it lasted.

The thought of having a U.S./Canadian-hosted winter Olympics is over, according to organizers. The original idea, proposed in early April, called for having Québec, Calvary and Vancouver, as well as Lake Placid, all bid together for the 2026 Olympics.

Québec, however, recently pulled out of the agreement, saying it did not have the facilities to host an event like the Olympics, and that it would cost too much to build those venues. And the talks on a joint bid seem to have fallen apart altogether, according to an article in Inside The Games.

Several possibilities have been brought forward (but not confirmed) as to why the multi-city concept wouldn’t work. One theory has been that the USOC is focusing on the Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics and cannot divert resources to planning a bid for a second Olympics two years from that time, particularly one that would involve cross-border work.

Additionally, there is the fact that the cities being considered are all located a considerable distance from one another. The logistics of transferring athletes to and from various venues, as well as trying to find suitable accommodations throughout the Games for athletes, media and others at various sites could also present problems. Another more political issue would be trying to decide who would host specific events (since some are higher-profile and therefore more desirable, in terms of television coverage.) Even the tourism aspect is challenging since spectators likely would need to confine themselves to one city, and could miss events they wanted to see.

Any one challenge is formidable, but the combination is simply forbidding.

Québec City is the second Canadian city to back away from bidding for an Olympics in recent months; in early fall, Toronto threw in the towel on its bid to host the 2024 Games.

Québec Mayor Régis Labeaume said his city would struggle to beat the proposed Swiss bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

"First, you have to ask if we have a very good chance of winning," Labeaume said to Associated Press. "We cannot answer yes to that question and, if we can't answer yes to that question, then we stop. In my mind, you submit an Olympic bid to win, not just to be in it."

There are still plenty of cities jockeying for position. Trento in Italy and Dresden in Germany are among other potential bidders for 2026, as well as Swedish capital Stockholm.

Almaty, the Kazakh city that lost out to Beijing for 2022, could also run again, although their success would mean three Asian Winter Olympics in a row, following Pyeongchang 2018 and the Chinese capital.

As a side note, the IOC’s Agenda2020 did clear the way for multiple cities to cooperate on bids for future Olympicics. It is unlikely that the U.S./Canada bid will be the last multi-city proposal; however, in its failure are important lessons for future bidders about locations, logistics and more.

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